I have a very simple New Year's Resolution this year. It's, of course, not the first time that I've taken to this blog for resolutions. Over the course of ten years of on and off blogging (mostly off these last few years), I've resolved to feed my mind, body and soul, and to be more accepting and have fun, among other things.
But first a little backstory. I am an optimist by nature -- territory I've also written about over the years. But theses past two years have tried the faith of even the most eternal optimist. You may have noticed there's a pandemic out there that's killed millions, turned lives upside down, and tested the resilience of individual, family, and community.
So on the one hand, you have the pandemic, and on the other hand, cancer. Scans in early 2021 showed tumor growth compared to my 2019 scans and as I booked my November appointment, it was with the expectation that we would be talking about treatment options for 2022.
The familiar expression is: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Smart business planning perhaps, but also a guard against disappointment. Don't get your hopes up and you won't be let down. And I was bracing against the challenges that 2022 treatment might present: how to attend my nephew's wedding in March; how to visit Matthew in Copenhagen during his semester abroad -- presuming it still happened.
But there's a problem with that thinking; when you prepare for the worst, you start expecting the worst -- or at least fearing the worst -- and that anxiety crowds out any space for hope, for optimism. And it's hard to be happy if you are living in a state of perpetual anxiety.
I like what I wrote back in 2013 when I said that "every year is filled with its moments of greatness, of pure happiness and gratitude... Sometimes, they're so tiny, so fleeting that you can miss them if you don't pay attention."
If you're too busy expecting the worst and preparing for it, you can easily miss them.
A funny thing happened in November. Instead of my scans showing more growth, they actually showed some smaller tumors and others pretty stable. Will I need more treatment in 2022? I don't know. Right now, I have an appointment in a couple months and then more scans in August. So we'll see. But importantly, I feel fine. (I ended 2021 and started 2022 with a run.) And so I'm simply going to hope for the best. Period.
And that leads me to my New Year's Resolution, which is simply this: I will allow myself to Be Hopeful; I will allow myself to Be Optimistic; and I will allow myself to Be Happy
It's a resolution I hope a lot of people take.